The Fool's Gold 50 deserves a preamble, if not for the fact that the week leading up to it was just as important as the race, then because I have very little else to talk about the rest of the week.
Saturday: One week out
Wake up and get a massage. I've got a pretty bad knot in my back from the Shenandoah Mountain 100 that normally I would ignore, but I want it gone because I'm going to try and "race" my bike one more time. Massage over, head home, get ready to ride (not what the massage therapist recommended). I decide to put the 32X18 on the Vertigo Meatplow V.7. I know it will be a little uncomfortable on more than a few climbs in Dahlonega. They do have real mountains down there. I just remember being a little under-geared in 2012 over the last twenty or so miles... and came in third by like nine seconds. Don't wanna do that again.
Head out for my last road-to-trail-to road training ride. Forty something miles of urban shit stain, rural roads and some fast single track... just like Fool's Gold... minus the mountains.
Sunday: Six days out
Wake up. Plan on taking it very easy. End up doing a bunch of yard work, mostly because I do it so rarely, and it was starting to look like a gorilla habitat all around the house. By the end of the night, my sinuses are full of hot coals and my head hurt. Nia had a cold last week. Hours spent killing plant life. Could be sick or allergies. Decide to stay away from beer, get plenty of sleep, and do no unnecessary riding until I feel better.
Monday: Five days out
I skip "training," sleep in, ride to work. I feel like shit. Seeing that Mountain Goat Adventures had published the list of entered riders, I take a look at my competition. I'm slightly comforted to see that Brad Cobb has entered the 40+, as he told me he'd be in the SS category when we last talked at Breck Epic (where he destroyed me on a geared fullie EVERY DAY). My record against him in the past is less than brag-worthy. I've beat him... maybe once? Dunno. That's just a guess. Recognize a few names, google the rest. I have a shot at winning. Just a shot though. You never really know what somebody is capable of just because you get some google results.
Tuesday: Four days out
Wake up still feeling like shit after a less than stellar night's sleep. The knot in my back is still there. The ride to work is horrible. I'm weak and can't pull in a full breath. Make it through a full day's work, stop on the way home and buy beer... because I'd rather not feel things anymore.
Wednesday: Three days out
Wake up feeling slightly better. Resort to ibuprofen for my shoulder because the beer was only temporary. The ride to work is not so bad, but not so good either. Sinuses still angry, so self-medicate with beer again that night.
Thursday: Two days out
I feel like I'm on the tail end of this thing now. Shoulder still hurts. Make it through the day and ride home feeling like I'm at least around 80-90% normal. Things are looking up... including my weight. I've gained somewhere close to six pounds since Breck Epic. How'd that... Drink beer that night because what difference does it make now?
Friday: One day out.
Wake up. No real ride to work as I'm leaving my car at BC's house, which is only a few miles from uptown. A very slow morning means minimal mileage before we hop in the car at 1:00PM and head to Dahlonega. Before the day is over, I've had toast, pizza, Jalapeno Cheetos, a Coke, lasagna, bread, wine, four beers, and a pack or Ramen noodles... because it was all available to me at the time.
Saturday: Go time
Wake up feeling like butt at 5:30AM, after listening to cabin mates rustling about for the last half hour or so. Make my fried egg and ham sammich and just stare at it. I don't really want it, not now. A couple bites is the best I can do. Drink my coffee, and go get dressed. I hate getting up for bike races when the sun won't come up for hours.
Get to the venue after a bit of a rushed departure (it's a bit nerve-racking being thirty minutes away on dark country roads... all named Horse something). Start getting ready at the car... realize I don't have my hat... and Brad Cobb rolls up. On a single speed. And he's got Justin Mace with him. Brad tells me, "Well, I was able to get a single speed built up in time."
Justin tells me, "I'm a new dad, so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it or not. I did."
For reference, this is the podium from the 2012 Fool's Gold 50:
Great. The Motor Mile guys always treat me like a team punching bag on the course. I don't know how many times I've been tossed around by them here in the Southeast. It's gonna be a great race.
Get to the start, see Brad's earbuds... remember that I left mine back at the cabin.
So at least I know what I have to do now. Sing to myself in my head and hold onto Brad and Justin's wheels for as long as I can.
That would be about six miles.